We’ve recently been helping somebody caught out by what I would call – toned down for this blog – ‘a somewhat unscrupulous host’. Without going into the details, they have become very obstructive about moving a website, hosted with them, to another provider. Unfortunately closer examination has shown that the domain name for the business we are dealing with was registered by this helpful host in their own name. So, despite the domain being setup and paid for – for years – by the business in question, it appears to the outside world that the domain name does not belong to them.
There are various internet bodies (e.g. nominet.org.uk for .co.uk domains) that police the internet, and it is possible (if you are having problems getting a host or developer to change your domain name settings to point to a new website or a new host) for them to force this change to happen. However, it makes it all the much harder if you don’t appear to own the domain name in question.
You can check domain name ownership details by using what we call a ‘whois’ service. A good way of doing this is going to a domain name provider, such as 123reg.co.uk, and searching for your own domain name then click on the taken link to see the full ownership details.
Hopefully you will maintain good relations with your host and developer, but why not take 5 minutes now just to check your domain(s): for many, losing control of their domain names might well mean losing their business.